Darin McQuoid Blog Reviews Tutorials River Directory

Tokina AT-X Pro AF 28-70mm 2.6-2.8 

27oz 77mm Filters

  This lens has some interesting history, it's supposed to be a reincarnation of a famed Angenieux design. It's also hard to figure out what the "correct" version is with so many variants. This lens is neither small, nor light. It's all metal construction makes it feel as robust as the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 but fit and finish is not as nice. Perhaps because mine was heavily used, everything seemed a little bit loose. In real world use, I liked the rendering of the lens. It was sharp enough, never stunningly so, but it had a classic glassy rendering of water that seems common in older Nikkors.

Jonas Grunwald on the North Fork of the Middle Fork American.

Nikon D700, Tokina 28-70 @ 58mm 1/1250 f/8 ISO 200

A 100% crop with no sharpening applied.

Higher contrast than a lot of old Nikkors: Diane Gaydos on the South Branch Feather.

Nikon D700, Tokina 28-70 @ 28mm 1/1000 f/5.6 ISO 400

100% crop with no sharpening.

Something isn't right in the above shot. In my copy of the lens there seemed to be a loose element. I'd seen this in another older lens. Even though the exterior is built like a tank, glass can still get loose inside and make a mess of things. Sometimes it was sharp, too often not.

A look at f/4
Nikon D700, Tokina 28-70 @ 28mm 1/60 f/4 ISO 200

100% unsharpened crop.

Much like an older lens, it's soft wide open and tends to "glow" as well as shows some signs of circular bokeh.

Nikon D700, Tokina 28-70 @ 70mm 1/120 f/2.8 ISO 200

100% crop of the center.

Not a petite lens, but smaller and slightly lighter than the Nikkor 28-70 or 24-70.


  Build: 8/10                  -  Built like a tank. All metal, perhaps good for hammering nails.
  Handling: 6/10            -  The zooming action is smooth, but AF is loud and clunky. You can literally feel the weight of the elements move and come to a stop. I dislike the AF clutch. 
  Performance: 7/10      -  Somewhat soft wide open, decently sharp stopped down with pleasant rendering.
  Value: 8/10                -   For $250 used it offers a good value.
  Overall: 7/10               - Good if not great performance.

Practicality for kayaking: 7/10   - Heavy but durable with a nice focal range. Not as stressfully as carrying the $1,800 Nikkor counterpart.

   This lens is in some ways the opposite of the Nikkor 24-85 AF-S, one I should have loved on paper but didn't like how it renders images. This lens is larger, heavier, not as wide and not as sharp but I prefer the images. Some say that this lens performs almost as well as the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8, which in turn performs almost as well as the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8. I say different. Somewhere in the "almost" a lot of wide open performance is lost, as is against the light work, weather sealing, AF speed and noise, instant AF over-ride, internal focusing and a consistent length while zooming. Well, you have to get something for $1,500. This lens is a sleeper and I would consider it before the modern third party 28-70mm f/2.8 iterations because it's cheaper, more durable and similar in performance. In short you're getting about 75% of the Nikkors for 13% of the cost. 

Nikon Glass